Grenell: As Merkel meets with Biden, concern grows over Germany’s shift toward Russia, China

Ric Grenell sounds off on Biden-Merkel meeting

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday amid growing concern over Berlin’s shift away from a “Western-facing” geopolitical alliance and more toward one making overtures toward rivals Russia and China as trade partners, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

Grenell, who served under President Donald Trump, told “The Story” on Thursday that despite White House statements, Biden will likely pay lip service to concerns over Russia completing the Nordstream pipeline to Merkel’s nation. 

Host Martha MacCallum said the White House stated Biden will “raise his objections over the pipeline with Merkel and he will press her on the importance of developing concrete mechanisms to ensure that energy is not used as a coercive tool in Europe and Ukraine.”

Grenell dismissed the claim, saying the issue instead goes to the core of what he called Merkel’s departure from a “Western-facing alliance” that Germany has developed since the end of World War II and moreso in earnest in the time since the country’s reunification on November 9, 1989.

“I think Biden will utter those words, and not really know exactly what they mean, and everybody will go on,” Grenell responded. 

“They have already dropped the sanctions. The Germans are celebrating that they’re getting Russian gas. This is a disaster.”

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Grenell said he likes Chancellor Merkel, 66, on a personal level and that she has overall been a good leader. However, he reiterated she has moved Germany “into an alliance that is not Western facing anymore.”

He said the international community is celebrating her tenure without looking at the fact she has at times viewed herself, as TIME magazine described her in its 2015 Person of the Year profile, as the “de facto leader of the European Union,” despite other factors.

“She likes the idea of an E.U.-U.S. alliance, not a Western alliance. [The Germans] want to be friends with everybody. They have a huge surplus. They want to continue buying and trading with China,” Grenell said.

“What Chancellor Merkel has done is moved Germany and Europe away from a Western-facing alliance and it’s Germany first – She uses rhetoric that sounds like Europe First, but ask any of the Europeans, especially the eastern Europeans, ask other countries in Europe whether or not the Germans are sharing their big surplus and you get a big fat no. She’s responsible for shrinking the E.U.”

Merkel has stated she will retire from the chancellorship later this year. In the post-1949 government system, the chancellor is not directly elected by the German people but instead by the Bundestag – or German Parliament.

Merkel is a member of the CDU or Christian Democratic Union, a moderate/center-right faction – and has served as chancellor since 2005.

Top candidates in the September election include German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the left-wing Social Democrats, as well as Nordrhein-Westphalia governor Armin Laschet representing the CDU – and Bundestag members Tino Chrupalla & Alice Weidel representing the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany.

, in which he further laid out his case that Germany is making troubling overtures away from the West:

Merkel always struggled to explain why exactly her country had a budget surplus while not meeting their financial commitments to NATO’s defense. She also failed to make clear why exactly Germany was ignoring European concerns that she was feeding the beast of Russia with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline partnership.  
As U.S. ambassador to Germany during the Trump administration, I spent much of my time trying to convince the largest country of America’s European allies that some of their political positions were incompatible with a Western-facing Alliance. 
I came away wondering why the German government does not share the Western Alliance view that the Kremlin and the Chinese Communist Party will not eventually converge with the values and interests of Western Europe. Expecting them to will only make it more likely that the two hostile powers will succeed in further marginalizing the West.

“A couple of [the candidates for chancellor in the 2021 election] have said in the German election will be in September, have said that they don’t want to choose between China and the United States,” Grenell added on “The Story.”

Merkel will be a top guest at a White House dinner on Thursday. The guest list also included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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